The Google Pixel and Pixel XL hit the stores recently. Plenty of people have expressed their interest in both handhelds and most likely went on to grab their units when the devices got released a couple of days ago. However, a good chunk is still undecided.
While early reviews for the Pixel and Pixel XL are now out, they only detail the software experience and the surface of the hardware that the handhelds have. A deeper look into the hardware would require the smartphone to be taken apart.
iFixit did just that with its Google Pixel XL teardown.
Going In From the Top
Noting of the Google Pixel XL's design similarities to the iPhone, iFixit decided to open the device and expose its innards by first detaching the display. After a minute of heat, another minute for prying and a couple of screws, iFixit finally separated the screen from the rest of the phone.
"The OLED panel separated from the digitizer glass a little too easily for our liking. Super-thin components and no frame or bezel behind the display make it extra sketchy to remove," writes iFixit.
Further scrutiny reveals that the 5.5-inch AMOLED display is from Samsung, and the touch controller that comes attached to its back is a Synaptics ClearPad S3708.
With the display off, the midframe was exposed. iFixit comments that the slim magnesium frame is more bendy than expected and that it is clipped very firmly to the phone's body.
iFixit's Google Pixel XL teardown reveals that the midframe houses an earpiece speaker and a ribbon connector. With the frame off, the rest of the components, including the matte-black motherboard, are exposed.
Taking Out the Battery
While Google tags the Pixel and Pixel XL with a "Phone by Google" branding, it's not a secret that both handhelds came off HTC's assembly line. However, HTC did not leave any of its own branding aside from the one found on the 13.28 Wh battery.
The battery's cover has a perforated portion, which, when pulled, turns into convenient strip for taking out the battery.
The Motherboard And Modular Parts
After taking out the interconnect board, 3.5 mm headphone jack and 8-megapixel front-facing camera, iFixit got access to the motherboard but not before the fingerprint sensor cable was detached.
At the front, the motherboard has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 SoC, along with a 4 GB LPDDR4 mobile DRAM from Samsung. Qualcomm's power manager IC, Quick Charge 3.0 IC and LTE RF transceiver as well as the NXP audio amplifier, NFC controller and Wi-Fi controllers also take up some of the motherboard's front-side space.
At the mobo's back is a 32 GB UFS 2.0 chip from Samsung, the audio codec, antenna matching tuner, LTE RF transceiver and power amplifiers.
Attached to the motherboard, just beside the 12.3-megapixel rear camera that is also attached to the mobo, is a mini board that houses the microphone. The miniboard is also home to the rangefinder that the XL needs for its laser autofocus.
The Daughterboard And the Fingerprint Sensor
The fingerprint sensor is housed by the rear case and, as mentioned, is attached to the motherboard via a cable. Also in the rear case is the daughterboard, which is home to a microphone and the USB Type-C port.
"This is a pretty bare-bones part, which means cheap USB port replacements," iFixit writes in addition to its prior comment on how the daughterboard pops out with relative ease.
The Google Pixel XL's repairability score is 6 out of 10. iFixit sees the modular components, the perforated cover that makes battery removal a breeze and the uniform T5 Torx screws of the handheld as its positive points. However, the sketchy removal of the display as well as the snug, fit notches that made the midframe removal laborious pulled the XL down in terms of repairability.
Note that the iPhone 7 Plus was awarded a 7 out of 10. Below is iFixit's teardown video for the Google Pixel XL.